I want to change the world. I want to make a dent in the universe. I want my legacy to last for generations after I die.
Talk about an oversized ego.
I believe that my motives are pure, but the trouble is, I often forget that the best way to change the world is in simple ways, starting today. After all, even if the sun is shining outside, we encounter people every day who are in the middle of a dark time.
My wife is great at taking advantage of the small ways she can bring light into the lives of people around her. Her thoughtuflness results in small actions, but they make a real impact. Baking Valentine’s Day brownies for a widow next door. Sending a funny gif to a friend having a rough day. Complimenting and engaging in a meaningful conversation with the grocery delivery guy.
These small rays of sunshine don’t generate standing ovations or front-page headlines, but they might be more meaningful. And they can be repeated day after day, for as long as we live. If you did one random act of kindness every day for the next 30 years, you could make a difference in the life of 10,950 real human beings. Of course that little bit of kindness is likely to spread beyond just that one person, and then the potential impact increases exponentially.
Changing the world for the better is a nice sentiment and a worthy pursuit. But it’s too big and unwieldy to be a practical goal.
It’s better, I’m learning, to look around for small ways to brighten the lives of the people around us. They are usually not difficult, or time consuming, or expensive.
But what a difference they can make in someone’s life.
To that person, on that day, the sun came out and the world changed.